Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Sunday

March 30, 2014

Tour features inventive reusers

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Recently, Thomas Hirsch, a builder who specializes in sustainable structures, completed a massive root cellar on the property. An adobe-covered shed opens to a stairway that stretches below ground level to the cellar.

Hirsch owns Bungalow Builders and his home will be one of the sites on the tour also. He calls himself a natural or green builder. His own home is a hybrid of a renovated cabin augmented with 12 inches of clay-covered straw insulation. He used no paint on the walls and only natural oils to finish his wood floors.

Hirsch also uses many recycled or re-purposed building materials in his projects, he said.

“There’s a lot of energy used to extract that lumber from the woods,” Hirsch said. “Nobody pays the true cost of materials.”

There is no doubt homeowners interested in finding new ways to reuse building materials will find plenty of inspiration on this year’s tour.

Those interested in a guided or self-guided tour should make reservations prior to the day of the event by calling Rachel Jarosz at 231-590-8295 or email her at rachel@EventsNorth.com. Homes will be open for tours between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. and tickets cost $10.

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